If you Google the words “Cape Antrim”, you’ll likely find yourself browsing through information about the Antrim Villa – a quaint eco-friendly lodge in South Africa.  While I’m sure it is quite lovely, it doesn’t fully resonate with the once strong Nova Scotia land mass that arched bravely into this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Cape Antrim known to many residents of Grand Desert is reminiscent of a large out-cropping of land, once found at the southern most end of Grand Desert Beach.   Known on nautical charts as Cape Entry, its towering presence provided a focal point for the local fleet of inshore fishermen. I speak of Cape Antrim in the past tense, as a place that once graced the entrance to Chezzetcook Harbour.  Today, the head bank known as Cape Antrim no longer exists; its cliff edge eroded over time not solely by the menacing friction of the Atlantic Ocean, but in large part by its other claim to fame, that of the DND-sanctioned air-to-surface target practice site known as the Chezzetcook Weapons Range.

Intended as a year-round location for practice in gunnery, rocketry and light bombing, recordings from a pilot log book indicate the Chezzetcook Weapons Range began operation in January, 1951. In this post-WWII era, it was not unusual to hear the outbursts of wailing sirens found atop of electricity poles along the Grand Desert road, giving warning that bombing exercises would soon commence.

Download Shearwater Aviation Newsletter about Chezzetcook Weapons Range

This is a great article detailing the operations and events at the Chezzetcook Weapons Range:  https://www.samfoundation.ca/Archived%20Newsletters/2007-winter.pdf (See pages 17-19)
It was a commonplace to see (and hear) post WWII-era aircraft fly a north to south racetrack pattern over Grand Desert Beach, aiming bombs and rockets seaward to a large target painted in the grassy field on Cape Antrim. Active target-bombing practice spanned twenty years; a large variety of weaponry exploded against the Cape, greatly accelerating coastal erosion.

Time & tide finally claimed the remnants of Cape Antrim. My last memory of the Cape was in the mid-1970’s when my father and I observed it as but a tiny knoll, no larger than an imposing sand dune.  Shortly after, a strong coastal storm took the last of the Cape, and the Grand Desert Beach shoreline began a transformation that moved the sea inland by several hundred feet.

Coastal dwellers know all too well that the strength of the sea is very powerful. Knowledge too, is very powerful. I chose to add “Cape Antrim” to my business name as a testament to the towering beacon that Cape Antrim once was. Since the early 1900’s, Cape Antrim (Entry) served as a navigational aid to fishermen. Now, Cape Antrim Knowledge Marketing is a business-services aid, offering software training & e-Commerce website solutions.

Cape Antrim Knowledge Marketing – a beacon of different sort.

Many thanks are extended to both Kenneth Ervanowitz and Michael LaPierre for sharing the aerial photographs of Grand Desert from the 1950’s.